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The hottest new thing that’s taking the world by storm is a little app known as Pokemon Go. This fun-filled, original app helps the user collect little virtual Pokemon and, in turn, inspires millions to go out and exercise. How can such a simple game get millions of people on their feet and out in nature? It seems impossible, but that’s just the magic of Pokemon Go. This game is an important item in society because of how it inspires the people that play it to get active.
One of the biggest pluses to playing Pokemon Go is the fact that it makes exercising easy and fun. In a way, the app tricks you into exercising, but half the battle of working out is getting over the fact that you’re working out. For anyone that plays the game, “it’s pretty much impossible to get very far in the game without moving around—a lot” (Haelle). In order to catch Pokemon, the player has to walk around and wait for the creatures to show up- they won’t come unless you get near them. Another way that the game forces the player to walk is to hatch eggs. As the player collects eggs with mystery Pokemon inside, they can put the eggs in incubators to hatch them- but the only way the egg will hatch is if the player walks enough. Many eggs require 2km, 5km, or 10km of walking before they open up. The only way they’ll open is through movement, so it basically forces the player to get up and go. Sure, the casual cynic could argue that all this ‘forced’ physical activity is borderline brainwashing, but what’s really so bad about physical exercise? It seems like the government spends thousands of dollars each year to promote physical education, yet one app has convinced people to get up and move.
Pokemon Go is not only a great way to exercise, but it also gets the player some much-needed fresh air and vitamin D. It’s easy to get caught up with indoor work, but since this app almost demands that the player gets outside and walks around, it has become an easy way to breathe deeper and replenish some vitamins. There are “a wide range of studies suggest that breathing outside air—as long as it’s not polluted—may improve your mood and health” (Haelle), and who doesn’t need that? Vitamin D comes with being out in the sun, so it’s a good idea to catch some rays while searching for Pokemon. Just don’t forget sunscreen!
Finally, another reason why Pokemon Go is good for the average person is because it brings communities together. Families will play together, strangers will strike up conversations and make new friends, and it’s a safe and simple thing that nearly everyone can relate to. There aren’t a lot of platforms that unite us, especially “right now, with the violence and division we’re seeing in the news, it’s important to get to know our communities better and discover our neighbors. Chasing after stupid imaginary creatures seems to be achieving that as well as 4th of July fireworks, except every day” (Haelle). People crowd around PokeStops to talk about their findings, kids and parents can go on walks and trips together and have something simple and fun to do, and friends now have a fun activity to add to the list of stuff to do. Nothing has come out thus far that can do the same thing, yet a little app can. It’s fascinating to sit near a PokeStop and witness all this friendly behavior taking place. It’s something most can’t find anywhere else.
Many people today will groan and whine about how technology is tearing society apart, but this little app for smartphones is bringing people together, making them healthier, and it’s even getting people to learn about important landmarks through PokeStops. The people that do have the app are essentially forced to walk around and discover everything that the outside world has to offer, and it’s making people healthier through the exercise, fresh air, and vitamin D. So before the average Joe tries to say that most of the world is a bunch of brainwashed zombies playing this video game, remind them of all the wonderful health and societal benefits that comes with this little app based off of a trading card series.
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